Get On and Off the Bus…


Good Afternoon and I pray you all have had a wonderful Friday thus far. This morning I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with my Leaders Under 40 class that is sponsored by the Community Building Initiative here in Charlotte, NC. This diverse group of young adults links identified leaders in the community for one year to interact, interface and engage over team/skill building exercises and community issues.

Today’s LU40 class was privileged to take the “Under the Bridge” Tour which is a bus ride around Charlotte to many of the neighborhoods we may or may not have known existed. Prior to the tour, we received some history and context about how Charlotte became segregated, integrated and how many of the communities look the way the do. If you have a chance to do the tour, I highly suggest, getting on the bus!

Well, the practice of getting on the bus and then getting off the bus opened up my mind to create this post and how it can relate to nonprofits. Let me explain. By getting on the bus, we were transported to an area of town that many of us would not have a valid reason to visit otherwise. The same goes for our agencies. Many of us never “get on the bus” to visit areas where our resources extend or should extend. We stay in our offices or only go to programs areas that we deem to be successful. We stay rooted with the grand idea that we know all and there is nothing else out there to experience.  In order to be successful and create programs/ideas that further your mission, you need to “get on the bus!” Get out. See what’s happening!

Secondly, the practice of “getting on the bus” isn’t enough. We need to also “get off the bus.” After reaching our destination, we need to “get off the bus” and engage the people we are sent to help. We should be talking with them, shaking their hands, asking questions and engaging as much as possible. This is how we find out the real community needs. We can’t just assume or do what we want. We need to have the buy in from the real stakeholders, the people who live there.

So, “get on the bus!” And then “get off the bus!” It’s pretty simple but something we rarely do. Get on. Get off. And then get back on the bus so you can return to work and begin the process of continuous improvement.

Have an awesome weekend!

* Here is the link to the Community Building Initiative (

*Photo Credit: Leila King @leilakate @cbicharlotte


Keith Cradle

@mrcradle on Twitter and Instagram


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